Instagram has been quickly moving its platform to be more than the sharing photos with friends app it started out as. With the news that Instagram has increased its monthly advertisers to one million and plans to increase testing of their Instagram shopping features its obvious where the new direction is heading. Instagram tells Bloomberg that in the next couple months they plan to add an option to book appointments by visiting a company's profile. One of the examples given is being able to click a button and scheduling a haircut through a Salon's profile.
Instagram obviously sees this as giving business profiles an actionable ROI for sponsored advertising. The act of converting views to appointments for a profile would be a huge boost to monetize the time many photographers already question is spent on Instagram. I recently switched my profile over to a Business profile even though I've heard many people questioning if it would have a negative effect on organic impressions. The idea comes from plenty of evidence of this happening with Facebook Business profiles when they switched over, favoring sponsored content. This may or may not be the case but so far I haven't seen much of a change in my stats. I also don't have as very large a following as many of my photographer friends, as I've chosen to try and build a more genre specific following. That and I tend to not post at consistent days and times, which is very important to increasing your overall numbers.
What does all this mean for photographers? Well it probably means more to retail photography like wedding and portrait. Where you actively market to your audience in hopes of converting that into booking appointments. I can see brides searching Instagram for ideas and photographers while planning their weddings, and having the ability to set up meeting with the ones you like right in the app could be huge for them. However for someone like myself working in a more commercial market, although Instagram is still important, I can't see booking meetings with editors or ad agencies directly through a feature like this. Who knows I could be wrong.
In addition, it sounds as if other features to improve upon this might be coming as well like reviews, which just further the idea as Instagram as shopping platform. This in itself could be useful for some photographers. Having the ability to click an image and be taken directly to the photographers sales page where you can purchase various prints with no money ever being exchanged with Instagram does seem useful.
What do you think? Can you see these features being part of your social media marketing plan? Or do you think Instagram is moving away too much from what made it simple and great? Let us know in the comments. Or connect with me on Instagram. I love seeing the talent we have in the Fstoppers community so reach out or Direct Message me. It doesn't matter how many followers you have, Instagram is one of my favorite platforms and I'd love to connect with you there.